Run Disney At Disneyland Paris: Participant Interview.
For the second time I find myself wishing I’d signed up for Run Disney in Paris. I remember seeing the excited tweets and blog posts in 2016 and thinking – that’ll be me next year. Small problem? I don’t run. But I still found myself wrapped up in all the excitement and fun.
But one blogger in particular caught my attention – Hoodsie. I really enjoyed how she talked about her training and the experience as a whole. She was honest, straightforward, but you could really feel her exhilaration. And her drive is nothing short of inspirational. If you can’t do run Disney yourself then Hoodsie is the next best thing.
So, she seemed the perfect person to interview. We asked her ten questions to try and get a real feel for the Run Disney experience from a long term DLP fan. Hoodsie participated in all three adult races and has created some great blog content dedicated to her experiences. If you want to read her blog posts on Run Disney – and we recommend you do! – check them out here.
For those that didn’t follow Run Disney this year Paris was split into three races a 5k, 10k, and the half marathon with a children’s races on the Saturday. This year the 5k was on Friday evening (21/9/2017) at 8pm with the run party straight after. The 10k was on Saturday (22/9/2017) starting at 7am and the Half Marathon followed on the Sunday (23/9/2017) at 7am.
First of all I’d like to open with a few general question: what can you tell us about the training you did? Do you have any advice for any would-be run-disney runners?
I run regularly in particular I found park run really helpful. It’s a weekly times 5km run in local parks etc and it’s free to join and run every week it’s not a race but it’s great to be able to see yourself improve. I also go to the gym for general strength training though I must say I didn’t do as much of either as I should have ! As for advice? Two things 1. Get running shoes fitted, I paid £10 in a sports shop to have my shoes correctly fitted and it’s the best thing I ever did for my running, you’ll notice the difference and get way less injuries! 2. If you’re a new runner the NHS couch to 5km is a great plan and you can get loads of apps etc to help you get started
1) Did you notice anything different about the organisation of the races this year? I know it came under fire last year at points.
The organisation. Ok so they added in an extra race without extending the length of the race weekend and this meant the 5 km got moved from Saturday morning to Friday evening with the party straight after. Personally I wasn’t a fan of this as it caused issues with getting your gear bags back etc.
Other than that they changed the layout of the expo and it did seem to flow much better, the corrals also seemed better managed but maybe that was me having more experience and knowing what to expect?
The process with the voucher for collecting pins was a way better system then last year when you couldn’t pre order anything and it made me feel so much more relaxed going into the weekend and able to focus on the runs not the merch!
My only complaints would be, they started running out of finisher shirts on the first day of expo and the also didn’t have enough of some of the race medals!
2) Did you enjoy the party and other events that they did on the Saturday night? Would you like to see the same next year or something different.
Out of the events other than the runs the only one I went to was the party on the Friday night. I really enjoyed it and thought good changes had been made compared to the year before. I would do it again especially at the lower price offered this year. However I would like to see it on the Thursday night, or have the Friday 5km start earlier as doing both in one night wasn’t ideal! We missed the majority of the characters which was the biggest reason for going personally!
3) During the races how did you find the general atmosphere of the parks? How where the cast members?
The atmosphere in the parks was amazing! All the cast members I came across were so so happy and supportive and I can’t imagine it was easy being up so early with a full day of work ahead! The noise from Cms and family and friends down mainstreet was amazing too. It really makes it feel so much easier.
I guess what surprises people is how much atmosphere and support there is outside of the parks, with bands, DJ’s, performers and cheerleaders along the route as well as the hundreds of volunteers handing out drinks and snacks and even the safety staff both fire and ambulance crews along the route were really supportive and got involved! It doesn’t sound like much but it really makes all the difference out there!
4) The characters on offer this year where pretty impressive. Which was your favourite meet and who would you like to see next year?
The characters this year were amazing! Firstly a huge thank you to all the characters and supporting cast members. Especially for the morning races, it was super early but you guys were the magic that made it worth while.
I think I was quite lucky that I got most of the photos I wanted with a few exceptions. As for a favorite, that’s tough! I think having mickey and Minnie together in their 25th was a really nice touch and I love my photo with them.
The Three Cabaleros in Frontierland were really fun and unexpected! But I think Judy Hopps might edge this one for me!
I had heard rumours before the 2016 edition that she would be out and obviously that never came to anything so when I found out she was on the half course, well I don’t think I’ve ever sprinted around discovery land that quickly before.
I’m pleased to say she was every bit as cute as I’d hope she would be! The only disappointment is as yet my photo pass picture with her hasn’t turned up. I’m so glad I took my own!
My main disappointment is that Bullseye was out for a while on the 10Km course but I didn’t get to him in time! As a huge toy story and Pixar fan this would have been an amazing meet for me!
5) What did you think of the overall course for the races?
I really enjoyed the new courses this year. The half marathon had more in the parks than last year which meant less outside of the parks!
The 10Km was a perfect mix of 2 parks and running through sleeping beauties castle is always emotional!
I really loved that all of the finish lines for the adult races were in the parks this year. It was a much better finish atmosphere and sense of achievement than being out in a Parking lot with no friends or family!
The only course I have issues with was the 5km. I thought it was a real shame it didn’t go through the main park at all. Running through the castle is surely the best part of a run?
I’m not sure running through the village at 8pm on a Friday was a great idea either. As a runner I had no issue but it looked like a nightmare for other guests. I must applaud any one working guest flow that night for keeping it under control. Finally the 5km course was quite dark in places especially around the tram tour. It could have benefited from better lighting!
6) What did you think of this years medals?
This years medals, personally I really liked them, I guess for me the only real disappointment was that they didn’t all follow a theme, but I guess with the Us they have a few different race weekends so can cater each one to a different audience, we only have one so try and use each race to draw in a different crowd.
I love the quality of the medals. They really feel like an appropriate reward for putting in so much work. I really love taking photos of/with them in the parks.
My favourite this year was the 10Km medal as I’m a big Aurora/sleeping beauty fan. Having said that I thought the glow in the dark flames on the 5km one was a really cool touch, and the replica pin does it too!
7) Given what you know of the other parks do you think rundisney at DLP matches up?
I can’t say 100% how run Disney in France is compared to the states as I’ve never run a race there, however from what I’ve seen online and feedback from people who have run both, I think our race is doing very well and has a lot of potential to grow into a really solid part of the run Disney family.
We’re still having a few teething issues finding the right course as the route changed from last year, the party doesn’t quite work right for us, and I’m not hearing rumours that part has been scrapped for the next edition.
I think the expo is one of the things that I hear a lot of negatives about from us runners as a lot of it is promoting local french stuff and it doesn’t have the shopping options and sponsors that the us has, new balance in particular. I think the registration process needs a lot of work and general communication, but over all we have a really strong foundation and I’m really proud of our little park for that!
8) Is there anything you’d like to see done, or done differently, next year?
I think for me the thing I’d like to see done differently the most is perhaps better communication behind the scenes so everyone is getting the same message no matter where it’s from (online Facebook twitter) over the phone or in person.
And also the morning races to start slightly earlier. This would allow for the character queues to stay open just a little longer ?
9) Any final thoughts?
Final thoughts? I think first of all a huge thank you to everyone at Disneyland Paris at run Disney and all of the volunteers etc who made the event possible!
I’ve heard a lot of negatives about the event from people who weren’t there and heard others be put off by it, honestly even with the teething issues experienced this year and last year going to run Disney has been two of my best Disneyland Paris experiences and it really can’t compare to any other even the park offers, it’s so worth trying to do it, you have so much time to train before the next one and it really is so so much fun!
I’d like to take a moment to thank Hoodsie for her fantastic and in depth thoughts on the event. If Hoodsie has inspired you to get out your running shoes and train for next year then check out her blog which is filled with tips and tricks to get you started. I may need to get on it myself next year and finally do Run Disney. It’s a challenge but reading about her experiences really has been inspiring.
It certainly seems like Run Disney was a positive experience with, to be fair, a few frustrations along the way. However, unlike the other parks, it is in it’s infancy with Disneyland Paris and it’s an amazing thing to have. Hopefully, they can build on the great things they did this year to something even bigger and better. It’s been really fantastic to do this interview and get some great insights.
Now, about those running shoes…